All Stacy (Sunny Sandler), a teenager, wants is to have an epic, perfect, and awesome bat mitzvah. She and her best friend, Lydia (Samantha Lorraine), have been dreaming about this day for what seems like forever. They have a plan regarding how they want their bat mitzvah party to be organized, which Stacy presents in front of her parents using a PowerPoint Presentation. One of the deals the best friends make with each other is that Stacy will create Lydia's entrance video, and Lydia will write a speech for Stacy. Everything looks nice, right? What could go wrong?
Well, when have things gone according to the plan, especially for teenagers in a coming-of-age film? The kids experience joy and heartbreak before they become adults. Director Sammi Cohen, with cinematographer Ben Hardwicke, films these moments with verve. You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is visually so assured and exciting that it immediately captures your attention. The invigorating movement of the camera imbues the film with drama and energy. A scene like the one where Stacy's mother, Bree (Idina Menzel), threatens to confiscate Stacy's phone is shot in such a way that it resembles a Mexican Standoff. Cohen enthusiastically plays with her camera and comes up with thrilling sequences. How does the film underline that the two characters are growing apart from each other? The camera literally creates a distance between them.
You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is a delight. It's electrifying, not hectic. You keep pace with it because you don't want to be left behind. The jokes are genuinely funny and delivered with perfect timing. When Stacy is told to remove her heels, she looks at her dad, Danny (Adam Sandler), with a puppy-like expression. As a result, he turns towards Bree to convince her regarding their daughter's wishes, but as soon as he sees her do-you-really-want-to-have-a-debate-with-me face, he gives up and takes his wife's side. Pay attention because some of the best jokes linger only briefly on the screen. One of them involves Cantor Jerry (Dan Bulla) asking a kid if he's boring him. Then there is Sarah Sherman, as Rabbi Rebecca, dispensing her wonderful comic gifts. She is amusing even when she is walking on a treadmill.
The movie, written by Alison Peck, superbly balances drama and comedy. You laugh all right, but you also feel how cruel and unpleasant these characters can be. The awkward moments leave you shifting uncomfortably in your seats. Take that scene where Stacy jumps into the water to impress Andy (Dylan Hoffman). Andy often gives one-word replies like "true" and "tight." The movie sees these kids as shallow and mean people who also ask good questions like if god is real, why doesn't he stop global warming. But let's go back to Andy. Stacy and Lydia stop talking to each other because of him. They both have a crush on this boy, though Lydia doesn't say or do anything as she doesn't want to hurt Stacy. However, once their relationship gets rough, Lydia starts dating Andy. Stacy retaliates by spreading fake rumors about Lydia and seducing Andy.
You see, those close to you can hurt you terribly. This becomes true when Stacy makes an embarrassing video of Lydia, and it accidentally gets played at the bat mitzvah. Couldn't Lydia's mother have checked the video before approving it? But then, we wouldn't get such a piercing scene. You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah contains some moments that ring so true they remind you of your own personal experiences. One of those scenes has Stacy and Lydia feeling ashamed of inviting their other two friends to a cool party. You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah is extremely jaunty. Stacy informs her dad that if he thinks ants biting your hands as a coming-of-age ceremony sounds painful, try being a girl in middle school. She's right. Middle school girls have their own stingy situations to deal with.
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